Updated December 02, 2009Concerns that the troop buildup in Afghanistan ordered by President Obama will trigger the first military draft since the Vietnam War are simply not supported by the numbers.
In a July 2, 2009 report to Congress, the Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC) states that President Obama's troop buildup in Afghanistan will be offset by decreased troop levels in Iraq.
According to the DTIC report, troop levels in Iraq will decline from 50,000 to about 35,000 by Aug. 31, 2011. Under the timeline already established by the White House, all troops will be withdrawn from Iraq by Dec. 31, 2011.
"Based on average monthly Boots on the Ground figures, the number of troops in Afghanistan and Iraq increased from 5,200 in FY2002 to a peak of 187,900 in FY2008 primarily because of increases in Iraq beginning with the invasion in March 2003," states the DTIC report. "In FY2009, total troop strength is expected to remain the same as planned increases in Afghanistan offset declines in Iraq. By FY2012, overall troop strength for the two wars is likely to decline to 67,500 when the withdrawal from Iraq is expected to be complete."
By comparison, at the peak of the Vietnam War - the last time a U.S. military draft was activated - U.S troop levels increased by about 100,000 extra troops per year, peaking in 1968 at 537,377.
At any time, the total number of active duty U.S. service members deployed worldwide exceeds 1.3 million.
Clearly, these numbers do not support the need for a draft to meet projected troop levels in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Registering for Draft Still Required by Law
Even though a military draft is not now in effect, virtually all male U.S. citizens, and male aliens living in the U.S., who are ages 18 through 25, are required by law to register with Selective Service. Failure to register with Selective Service can result in fines, jail time and loss of certain government benefits.
[Report Referenced in Article: Troop Levels in the Afghan and Iraq Wars, FY2001-FY2012: Cost and Other Potential Issues]